CHICHESTER RUNNERS & AC are celebrating another success in the national rankings.
After seeing three juniors in the national under-20 men’s rankings this year, Chichester now have Izzie Brown and Nathalie Godden in the top 20 in the under-17 women’s equivalent.
After a busy year for both athletes with numerous county and national titles between them, Brown claimed eighth spot in the heptathlon as well as a top-20 ranking in the high jump, her specialist event.
A year younger than Brown, Godden’s achievement in being placed 20th was all the more creditable as she has another year in the under-17 age group while Brown goes up into the under-20 age group for 2012.
What must give both girls an extra spur, especially through the long months of winter conditioning training, is the recent announcement by the International Athletics Federation that London will be the host city for the 2017 World Championships, when the girls will be 22 and 21 respectively and should, barring injuries, be near the peak of their careers.
Brown’s year started with her taking the England Athletics and South of England indoor high-jump titles.
She continued this form into the summer with another win in the South of England championships, this time in the heptathlon, also gaining bronze in the all-England Schools high jump.
Her mark of 1.72m in the high jump meant excellent points in the heptathlon scoring tables but the Chichester High School student has also made great strides in the other disciplines, especially hurdles, long jump, 200m and shot.
With all multi-event athletes, there is always an event which does not come as naturally and in Brown’s case it is the javelin. However, like her illustrious role model Jessica Ennis, Brown has worked at this event and, together with a solid 800m at the end of the competition, achieved 4,133 points, averaging nearly 600 per event.
Godden, a St Philip Howard school pupil, also made the Sussex team for an individual event at the English School championships in the high jump, in addition to claiming the Sussex long-jump title and possessing good sprinting and hurdling speed.
Her personal-best performances of 1.62 in the high jump and 5.17 in the long jump provided the springboard for a fine total of 3,909 points in the heptathlon. As this has been her first season in the under-17 age group, 2012 should be her year to prove herself against athletes of her own age.
Godden’s work at shot and javelin has paid off and both girls will hope to reap the rewards of the strength and conditioning training they are undertaking at the University of Chichester in readiness for the indoor season, which starts in January.
Brown will focus on the under-20 England Athletics pentathlon championships while Godden will be aiming for the South of England under-17 event.
– PHIL BAKER